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4 Reasons to Text Prospects for Better Conversion

This blog post is part 1 of a 2-part series. Check out part 2, “5 Texting Tips for Increasing Lead Conversion.”

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Whether you’re waiting in line for your morning coffee, commuting to work, or even sitting in a meeting—there’s one thing you can count on happening all around you today. Everyone is texting. According to Pew Research Center, 97 percent of U.S. smartphone users text at least once per day. In fact, text messaging has become the most widely used feature on our phones, followed by using the internet, making voice/video calls and email.
Texting has become a crucial part of any high-performing advisor or agent’s communication arsenal. By texting with a prospect, you’re 40 percent more likely to convert that prospect into a client. In a hyper-distracted world, it’s a critical way to connect with prospects.
Here are four reasons to text prospects for better conversions:

1. Millennials don’t answer their phones.

By 2020, almost half of U.S. workers will be millennials. They simply don’t answer their phones. If you’re serious about reaching this tech-savvy sector of the workforce, you have to text them. Many millennials find voice calls intrusive compared to receiving a text. A Nielsen study showed that among 18-to-34-year-olds, average monthly voice minute usage has dropped dramatically from 1,200 to 900 minutes while texting among 18-to-24-year-olds has more than doubled in the same period from an average of 600 messages a month to more than 1,400 texts per month.

2. Communicating via text is a quick, efficient way to get your message across…and get a response. 

Texting, by definition, is a short message (it wasn’t called a Short Message Service, or SMS for nothing). With email, there is a higher expectation for more context, but texts are supposed to be brief. When you’re reaching out to a prospect, texting is a great way to force yourself to keep the message concise. If you’re setting up a lunch to go over a retirement plan, you can worry about the details in person. Just text a note to set up a time. Texting will save you time (emails take longer to write) and help you get to the point quickly.
But texting isn’t just an efficient way for you to get in touch with prospects. It’s also the best way to guarantee your prospect will get your message and respond. A study by Radicati Group showed that 98 percent of texts that are sent will be opened by recipients and 90 percent of texts are read within three minutes of sending them.

3. Texting is personal.

Texting is the most intimate and personal form of communication available to you as an advisor or agent. A great email can still get lost in your prospect’s inbox, but a text message appears alongside your prospects’ texts from her closest family and friends. It’s also casual means to send someone a quick text, which can feel more thoughtful and help build relationships. As an advisor or agent, you’re often communicating about big life ups and downs—a divorce, a new baby, a college savings plan. These are sensitive topics and being able to talk about them one-on-one over text can feel more intimate and private. 

4. Texting provides an easy entry point for a follow-up.

Because texting has such high open and response rates, it’s a great channel for beginning a serious conversation about financial products and services. Perhaps a client of yours introduced you to his friend Gary at a party. You guys chatted casually and at the end of the conversation, Gary mentioned he’s looking for a new home. But you didn’t get his phone number. You follow up with your friend for Gary’s number and text him.
In today’s world, this is a totally kosher way to communicate. Setting up a meeting or call by text is easier for both you and Gary. This requires little effort on your end, and also makes it easy for him to ask for more information. Since you’re highly likely to get a response over text, you can start the conversation about being a first-time home buyer there and follow up over email with information about the real estate market in your city or mortgage loans. Texting makes for a great conversational starting point for business when prospects want to learn more.
It’s a no-brainer as an advisor or agent that you should be taking advantage of texting as an effective communication channel for converting prospects into clients. As long as you’re using a compliance-enabled solution, it’s hard for any prospect to ignore a concise, to-the-point text from you.
To learn more about compliance-enabled text messaging, visit www.hearsaysocial.com.
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The Future of Wealth Management: 4 Insights From BlackRock Leadership Event

As part of my role as founder and CEO of Hearsay Social, I have the pleasure of traveling all over the world to meet with prominent leaders in the industry, learn what’s keeping them up at night, and discuss how Hearsay Social can help them succeed amidst an always-changing business and regulatory landscape.
081 183A0302I recently attended BlackRock‘s Leader to Leader event and participated in a panel titled “The Evolving Investor Experience” moderated by Salim Ramji, head of U.S. Wealth Advisory at BlackRock. It was an honor to speak alongside John Thiel, Head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; Mark Tibergien, CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions; and Bill Harris, CEO and founder of Personal Capital.
We had an insightful dialogue on the future of wealth and asset management and, over the course of the event, it was clear from the speakers and the 100-plus wealth management leaders in attendance that four key issues were – and continue to be – top of mind for the industry:
1. Productivity pressure
Roboadvisors and, in the U.S., the imminent Department of Labor ruling – in which it’s expected to call for greater transparency into how advisors are being paid in fees and product commissions, including adopting a uniform fiduciary standard – are putting the pressure on advisors to deliver more value to clients.
Advisors can only do this by embracing technologies that free their time to focus on the human, emotional aspects of helping coach clients through tough life decisions. Two of the most time-consuming aspects are asset allocation and business development. Overall, the consensus from the C-suite is that there are big opportunities for advisors to leverage automation and productivity tools to help them recapture some of that time.
2. Democratizing advisor access
Data shows millennial clients want both access to do-it-yourself online account management tools and access to a human advisor. Where it wasn’t cost-effective for advisors to serve long-tail clients before, technology has made serving this market much more efficient. Roboadvisors are fine in a bull market, but data already is showing roboadvice clients pulling their money out at the wrong time. This is especially important since most Americans aren’t saving for retirement, or don’t know how, and – based on the math – there’s no way Social Security will be able to support millennials when they retire.
3. Regulatory tsunami 
There are a growing number of regulators and regulations (SEC, FINRA, Department of Labor, CFPB, IRS, CFTC, OCC, state regulators) that are competing with one another to see who can issue the most laws and establish greater jurisdiction over the industry. This instability is a real concern for small and big firms alike who must stay ahead of and navigate more and more regulations.
4. Demographic misalignment
The median advisor is in his mid-50s and male, but the overall client demographic is shifting increasingly toward females and millennials. Industry executives concur that there’s a huge need for tools and technology to reach, recruit and retain a more diverse advisor force in order to stay relevant in the digital age.
While the challenges are very real, there’s also an incredible sense of enthusiasm and optimism. Every firm I’ve talked to has made clear that their focus is on staying relevant to clients, meeting the preferences and expectations of the increasingly omnichannel consumer, and improving productivity. The entire team at Hearsay Social looks forward to delivering the innovation that will ensure the growth and success of our customers, partners and the entire industry.
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Highlights From the In|Vest Wealth Management Conference 2015

Guest contributor Xin Wang, Solutions Consultant at Hearsay Social, recaps the 2015 In|Vest Conference from June 18-19. 
Hearsay Social recently attended the In|Vest Conference in New York. The 2-day conference brought together an array of individuals, from executives at the largest financial institutions to founders of financial technology startups that are disrupting wealth management, to provoke conversations around the future of the industry. From idea hackathons to keynote speakers to product demos to panels, here invest conf 2015 photo are a few highlights of what we heard.
 
Technology to make financial services more efficient, or a disruptor?
On one hand, the sheer presence and name recognition of robo-advisor startups such as Betterment, FutureAdvisor, and Motif Investing represent ongoing fintech innovation. The common thread across these disruptors lay in their mission to use their platforms to build a relationship with customers based on transparency, low prices, and a great customer experience. Robo-advisors are seeing traction today, with Betterment announcing they are nearing the 100,000 funded account milestone, consulting firm A.T. Kearney forecasting robo-advisors to become a trillion dollar market by 2020, and several incumbents – Vanguard and Charles Schwab – recently announcing that they are entering this robo-advisory space.
On the other hand, even as some financial services products are being commoditized, both large and small financial services players recognize that there is still a need – whether it’s high net worth or complex assets or fringe cases – to provide personalized service through human interaction. So while technology charges forward to simplify the account opening process or to analyze predictive behavior, relationships and advice are here to stay. And that is manifested in large financial institutions who are putting resources into technology that frees up their advisors to do higher value work and all three of the aforementioned robo-advisor startups seeing the need to launch both director-to-consumer offerings, as well as solutions for advisors.
Millennials: A top-of-mind segment for all firms  
Millennials represent an out-sized share of wallet to many financial services companies because of the expected large intergenerational wealth transfer that will happen in the next few decades, as well as the surge in young and wealthy entrepreneurs. They present a new profile of consumers for the incumbents and provide challenges for all due to their high expectations of digital financial capabilities, their desire to consume content and interact in real-time, across social media, mobile, web, text, and their demanding nature of always wanting more. And yet they exhibit behaviors that are similar to other cohorts, such as valuing that one on one relationship and paying a premium for advice. Many of us are excited to see how they will fuel financial services innovation today and in the coming years.
To learn additional insights on how financial technology firms are disrupting the financial services industry, and what advisors can do to stay ahead, read insights from Hearsay Social’s 2015 Social Business Innovation Summit, and listen to a keynote from our founder.
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7 Big Takeaways from Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit

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Nestled in the heart of the Toronto financial district, digital marketers, social directors, and compliance officers from North America assembled for the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit annual event.  The event is built for financial marketing executives and focuses on dedicated streams around social & compliance, big data & optimization, mobile marketing & customer experience.
It would be difficult to sum up all the topics covered and discussions held during the breaks, so here are my top seven takeaways from the event:
1) It’s all about the customer experience
Jon Day of SapientNitro kicked off the event with some sobering statistics noting that only 54% of the public trusts Wall Street, haunted still by the prolonged downturn of 2009-2009. In order to rebuild investor trust, technology can help scale and create more personalized experiences.  At a foundational level, consumers expect financial services companies to help meet their needs and those that thrive go the extra mile by making it engagement easy and value added.  For brands, scaling via technology can help them save money, convert opportunities into sales and provide value through enhanced experiences.
Action: In order to rebuild trust and meet consumer expectations,  financial services organizations need to create personalized memorable experiences that consumers will share.
2) We’re living in a multi-device, multi-channel world 
Access to information via multiple platforms is commonplace these days, and consumers expect brands to reach them via their preferred channels.  The good news is that multiple channels don’t necessarily mean new content creation as much as the creative process of repurposing it.  A single white paper can be converted into a presentation, an infographic, or a podcast all amplified via social assets.  An approach that worked well for us when we launched the Advisor of the Future Executive Report in February, maximizing its exposure and providing readers different ways to experience the content.
Action: Identify the primary mediums your customers use to consume content, and create and repurpose content and distribute in multiple mediums.  
3) Reduced barriers of entry = success
Opening a checking or savings account should be easy.  Finding out your balance should be easy.  Moving money from one account to the other should be easy.  Financial services companies that find creative ways of making the process of becoming a client easy will thrive.  Online banking has solved for the ease of client acquisition for everyday transactions seamless and the real opportunity lies in doing the same on longer term client relationships that include credit, mortgage and investments.
Action: Reduce barriers of entry to secure the customer by making the process simple, and build loyalty by making the maintenance and access to information intuitive and easy.
4) Mobile, mobile, and mobile
The conversation around mobile and its growing use permeated every conversation and presentation at the event, especially smartphone usage.  Erin Elofson, Director of Financial Services of Facebook Canada shocked the audience when she shared that there are 7.2 billion SIM cards, outnumbering the number of people in the world.  In addition, there are approximately 100 countries in the world with more mobile phones than people.  I’ll let that sink in.
This year we crossed over where 51% of offline sales were influenced by the web, and more and more of that experience is being done on a handheld device.  The bottom line: if you don’t have a mobile strategy or your website is not optimized for a mobile experience you are placing your company, product and service at risk.
Action: Develop a mobile strategy that recognizes how your consumers are likely to seek out information or experience your product/service.
5) Collaboration wins
Creating a digital strategy does not happen in a single silo, but through collaboration. Implementation, especially in a regulated industry like financial services, requires buy-in and approval from multiple stakeholders. The earlier you engage stakeholders and make them part of the process, the easier it is to implement, process and maintain your digital program. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, and digital transformation begins in the conference room.
Action: In order to build a digital strategy, assemble a team of key stakeholders to represent the interests of their departments and identify the opportunities and risks associated with a digital strategy, and stay at it.
6) The growing influence of Millennials
Millennials are more than just a demographic as much as a mind set. These digital natives have only known a working world with the internet. These savvy collaborators are influencing the experience, the content and the mediums.  As they become the majority of the workforce in 2020, they will drive it.
Millennials demand so much from companies and brands, and expect things at their fingertips on a 24/7 basis.  They consume content in multiple formats and prefer information via text, social, instant messaging, and blogging to share content and connect. Are you doing enough to connect with this growing base of investors?
Action: Create a strategy to address the changing and evolving expectations of the market influenced by Millennials. Focus on adding value, being authentic and socially responsible.  Leverage technology to personalize, simplify and amplify.  You can do it!
7) Content IS the ad
Traditional advertising is transparent, and consumers don’t like to be sold too- they want a conversation.  Savvy marketers are finding ways to increase brand awareness by developing creative content that helps tell their story aimed at adding value. Embed your message in stories, pictures, infographics.  In short- tell better stories where your product or service plays a starring role.
Action: Develop personas based on demographics and psychographics to understand your client and use this date to drive the kind of content that clients and prospect want, and the mediums that will make the most sense to tell your story.
In summary, the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit offered up two days of interesting conversations and themes that sparked new ideas and themes.  What was clear was that digital technology, especially mobile,  is moving and evolving faster than the industry is prepared to adopt.  Thereby, the ability for financial services companies to adapt and then adopt will prove to be a competitive advantage.
Are you ready? To learn ways to engage today’s social, mobile customer, read about our predictive social suite for advisors.
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#HSonAir Podcast- Empire State of Mind: Part II

2015-05-07 12.02.05The Empire State of Mind series continues with Part II, where we visit with Connor Crown (@ConnorCrown) and Mike Gardineer (@MikeGardineer), Sales Development Representatives in our New York office to discuss their observations on the financial services industry and the initial challenges prospects face in social adoption. We also talk about the unique needs of the Millennial generation and the impact they are having on buying behaviors and specifically what firms need to do to prepare and serve the next generation of investors.
Join the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @elizelig on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion please send us an e-mail to OnAir@HearsayCorp.com.
Like our NEW page on Facebook and follow the progress of Ronny Kerr as he walks across America on Twitter using hashtag #RonnyWalk
Thanks for listening!

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An Interview with Kate Holmes of Belmore Financial (Podcast)

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On the heels of our recent executive report The Advisor of the Future, in episode 32 we introduce Kate Holmes (@the_kate_holmes), head financial coach and founder of Belmore Financial.  In our discussion we explore how Kate is coaching and helping the planning needs of the next generation of investors, and leveraging technology to connect with clients and prospects.
In our interview, Kate mentioned a recent Wall Street Journal interview for their Voices column that can be found on her Facebook page without a WSJ.com subscription. [WSJ.com subscribers can link directly to the story here.]
Join the conversation on Twitter with @VictorGaxiola and @EliZelig using hashtag #HSonAir. Have a question, comment or suggestion, send us an e-mail at OnAir@HearsayCorp.com
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Research: Financial advisors improve client retention and increase AUM with digital and social tools

Digital Wealth Management researchAt Hearsay Social, one of the most frequent questions we hear from the financial services industry is this: “What is the ROI of social media?”
Depending on who you ask, there are a few answers. What we’ve seen is that social media ROI is largely qualitative, with a social media presence alone resulting in new business or better relationships with existing clients. Additionally, the ROI for each firm will depend on the goals associated with that firm’s particular social strategy. For many firms, the first measure was growth, connectivity, and having a compliant social presence with little to no infractions.
Beyond that, however, we’ve heard countless anecdotes directly from financial advisors attributing increased business to their use of social media. Backing up these anecdotes, Accenture recently published a report entitled Reimagining Wealth Management for the Digital Age, which explores not only how digital technologies and social media are changing the wealth management industry, but also what results have been seen.
Here are a few of the best results:

  • Over half of financial advisors have found and/or converted clients via digital channels
  • 77% of financial advisors have improved client retention via digital/social tools
  • 74% of financial advisors have increased assets under management (AUM) via digital/social tools

Besides these and other eye-opening statistics, Accenture’s 20-page report analyzes how digital technologies and the new “digital generation” have disrupted traditional ways of doing business in the wealth management industry. Near the report’s conclusion, the consulting firm offers three essential components that will help financial firms, advisors, and their clients find success in the new digital era:

  1. Empowerment: of both client and advisor, building trust by making clients better informed
  2. Engagement: to enable a more collaborative relationship between client and advisor
  3. Agility: of both mindset and business model, to adjust rapidly to the speed of change

To learn more, download the full Accenture report here.
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Ignore, innovate or die: A new era for financial services firms and advisors

At the recent LIMRA Annual conference, innovation and opportunity took center stage. The theme of this year’s conference was “The Leadership Challenge: Connecting in a Distracted World,” highlighting for executive-level conference attendees the importance of evolving their firms to grow their business in today’s digital era.

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Left to right: Joe Monk (State Farm), Rand Harbert (State Farm), Bob Kerzner (LIMRA), Clara Shih (Hearsay Social), Michael Lock (Hearsay Social), Scott Davison (OneAmerica), Rino D’Onofrio (RBC Insurance), and Kenny Massey (Modern Woodmen).

Presenting at the conference were industry speakers and moderators including Scott Davison (President and CEO, OneAmerica), Joe Monk (chief administrative officer, State Farm Life), Bob Kerzner (President and CEO, LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global, Inc.), Kenny Massey (President and CEO, Modern Woodmen of America), Deanna Mulligan (President and CEO, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America), William Wheeler (President, Americas, MetLife), and Larry Zimpleman (Chairman, President, and CEO, Principal Financial Group), as well as external speakers including Lou Gerstner (former Chairman and CEO, IBM Corporation), Clara Shih (Founder and CEO, Hearsay Social), David Plouffe (SVP for Policy and Strategy, Uber), Don Yaeger (President, Greatness), and Jason Dorsey (The Gen Y Guy, The Center for Generational Kinetics).
Speakers focused on a few key consistent themes throughout the conference:

Adapting to changing demographics

One trend that fueled the topic of change was Millennials. According to LIMRA studies, 37% of Gen Y are unemployed, marrying later, and less likely to trust firms and individuals. In spite of all that, Millennials are more likely to buy life insurance than any other generation. They represent 80 million individuals spending $1 trillion in the US alone, 70% of whom want to learn more about financial education.
Conference speakers such as Bob Kurzner, David Ploufe and Jason Dorsey recognized that this segment of consumers represents a huge opportunity for financial services firms – especially their advisors, but that Millennials are going to buy differently than Boomers.

Adapting to the new buyer journey

Reaching Millennials will require very different methods than past tactics of “smiling and dialing.” For example, Millennials will decide to refer individuals and professionals they trust based on their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. In addition, Millennials consider phone calls an invasion of privacy, preferring engagement via text, email (only reading the subject line, of course), and social media.


Millennial buying drivers also differ, requiring financial education about different topics than their parents. According to Deanna Mulligan of Guardian Life, Millennials seek a secure platform for paying off loans and/or taking care of parents as opposed to buying a home and saving for the college education of their kids – more traditional priorities from the past.

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Left to right: Bob Kerzner (LIMRA), Deanna Mulligan (Guardian Life), William Wheeler (MetLife), and Larry Zimpleman (Principal Financial Group).

The implication is that advisors need to adapt to consumer changes – both in how they engage and where they engage.

Adapting to technology

With the rapid emergence of cloud technology, mobile devices, and social media over the past several years, consumers – and not just Millennials – now expect different things from businesses. The conference highlighted key technologies that require advisors to adapt to stay relevant in the digital era:

Social media, mobile, & big data

Kicking off the conference, Bob Kerzner highlighted how industry firms need to enable agents to be authentic and engage as individuals, not as brands, especially since the financial services industry is among the least trusted industry (per a recent Gallup survey). Deanna Mulligan also said that social media is required to be where clients are and that social media is key to engaging with clients. Larry Zimpleman agreed and offered that, for the middle and upper income clients, there are primarily two locations to reach potential retail clients: in the workplace and on social media.


The good news is that, based on a LIMRA study earlier this year, 93% of life insurance companies now have social media programs in place vs. 55% in 2010. 70% of surveyed life insurance firms now have a social business program for their advisors.


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Clara with Kenny Massey (Modern Woodmen) on the main stage at LIMRA Annual.

Clara Shih, in her presentation, “The Future of Distribution and Marketing – Staying Relevant in the Digital Era”, discussed how today’s consumers and customers have vastly different client expectations than those from the past. This has primarily been driven over the past five years by rapid growth of technology acceptance, from the Internet to mobile devices to social media. This expectation isn’t driven by competitors in the financial services industry, but rather by the likes of Amazon, Starbucks and Uber.
Clara also highlighted for the audience how social media addresses three key challenges that the Life Insurance industry faces today, including (1) changing client expectations, (2) an aging agent force coupled with the generational gap between agent and new clients, and (3) an outdated distribution model that needs to increase productivity at scale.
Finally, Clara challenged the leadership in the room to innovate beyond social within their firms, revealing the opportunity to enable a true omni-channel experience for clients as well as the opportunity to leverage technology for information discovery, data mining, and informed interactions to simplify the customer experience from signing up to underwriting to customer service.
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Clara with Kenny Massey (Modern Woodmen) on the main stage at LIMRA Annual.

With today’s big data & predictive analytics technology being more business-friendly along with the right models and data specialists, the industry has the opportunity to apply behavioral economics and data mining to better understand their clients.
In closing, Shih offered three final actions that leaders can take to lead their organizations for success in the digital age:

  1. Commit as management
  2. Incorporate into business process – training, prospecting, etc.
  3. Let early adopters do the talking

Like other industries, the financial services and insurance industry has three choices: ignore these trends and opportunities, innovate, or die. Clearly, the sentiment during and after the conference was that life insurance companies must embrace technology, adapt and integrate this into their training and internal processes, and enable their advisors to engage their clients at scale through technology, strong leadership, and innovation partners.
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How digitally enabled advisors enhance the private client experience: Recap of the SIFMA Private Client Conference

“SIFMA members share in the common goal of bettering the industry along with the ability to change it for the better” – from SIFMA Private Client Conference 2014

sifma-mainAt the SIFMA Private Client Conference hosted by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) earlier this month, “the client” took center stage. Over 300 leaders across the private client industry gathered in New York City to discuss and share best practices regarding how to provide better client services, serve the next generation of clients, and bring on a new digitally-enabled advisor to improve the overall client experience.
Clara at SIFMA PCC     Thiel at SIFMA PCC
Our very own Clara Shih (CEO and founder of Hearsay Social) and John W. Thiel (Head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management)–both pictured above–joined other main stage speakers at the conference including:

  • Valerie Brown, CEO, Cetera Financial
  • Gregory Fleming, President, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management & Morgan Stanley Investment Management
  • Mary Mack, President and Head, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC
  • Robert Mulholland, Group Managing Director & Head of Wealth Management & Investment Solutions, UBS Wealth Management Americas
  • Joseph E. Sweeney, President, Advice & Wealth Management Products & Services, Ameriprise Financial, Inc.
  • John Taft, CEO, RBC Wealth Management
  • and Mike White, CMO, Raymond James Financial.
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From left to right: Mike White (CMO, Raymond James Financial), Justine Metz (Head of Global Wealth Management, Marketing and Sales Support, Bank of America Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.), Penny Pennington (Principal, Branch and Region Development, Edward Jones & Co., L.P.), and Rodney Prezau (SVP, Affluent Client Experience, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.) speaking at the SIFMA Private Client Conference 2014.

The client experience, changing expectations and the next generation

Kicking off the conference, Robert Mulholland from UBS Wealth Management Americas shared that, with a large aging population in the U.S., discussions at the dinner table among Baby Boomers have shifted to concerns related to long-term care, including the health of aging parents.
With this changing set of priorities, Robert argued that advisors need to be attuned to their Boomer clients’ needs, as well as those of their children, in order to improve client services and the overall client experience.


With over $30 trillion flowing from Boomers to Generation Y over the next few decades, the topic of Millennials came up as a key segment for financial advisors to reach. Millennials are seeking financial advice but will check online first (e.g., Facebook pages and LinkedIn profiles) before reaching out for help or speaking with advisors, according to Valerie Brown, CEO, Cetera Financial.
Valerie added that advisors need to understand the outlook of the Gen Y investor who keeps 52% of their assets in cash, don’t want to be sold to, are much more skeptical than their parents on the value and returns of capital market, and demand transparency. Perhaps most striking: most Gen Y heirs don’t stay with their parents’ financial advisors.


With these evolving client needs and expectations, Mary Mack, President and Head, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, highlighted that the industry and its advisors must work to transform the client experience. She added that this is especially the case since the client is now used to interacting when and how they want in today’s world of Amazon, Google and Starbucks-like consumer experiences. Mary also highlighted in her talk that the industry must adapt to a client who is on social, digital, and mobile.

How technology can enhance, not replace, the financial advisor

To reach clients – older and younger — Brand Meyer, Head of Independent Brokerage Group, Wells Fargo Advisors, commented that people are consuming info differently – 24/7 – and that the industry must embrace mobile and online solutions as an extension of their forms of communications and services.
Valerie cited a survey stating that loyal clients have up to 24 non-financial “touches” (i.e., informal communications) per year from their financial advisor over 12 months versus those less loyal clients who get 3 non-financial touches per year on average.
So how does social media help advisors?

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Raymond James CMO Mike White joins Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih onstage at the SIFMA Private Client Conference 2014.

The digitally enabled advisor

With a growing set of Gen Y investors, an aging population of Boomers, and a third of advisors set to retire in the next ten years, a critical call-to-action was made to grow the advisor base organically and enable advisors with technology.
In her keynote, Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih stated that social media can help the industry and financial advisors with many of the top challenges they face, from meeting the changing expectations of clients’ consumer behavior, to enabling advisors to build and deepen client relationships, to growing the advisor population, and to addressing the lack of trust in institutions by empowering the individual financial advisor.
Clara reinforced that advisors now need to meet their clients where they are, noting that nearly two billion people, including 60% of online adults 50 – 64 years old, now regularly access social networking sites.


Advisors are starting to meet that challenge: according to a recent survey, over 75% of advisors report using at least one social media account for business purposes. More importantly, they are starting to see real value from social media use.


Clara further noted that social media is an ideal, complementary channel for wealth management for three primary reasons:

  1. Clients are sharing and posting relevant, personal life events, which are key moments of truth for financial advisors to serve their clients’ needs.
  2. Millennials and Boomers go to social networks and other sites online for recommendations and content.
  3. The cost of staying in touch scales through social media, which provides wide reach while still feeling personalized thanks to photos and other forms of multimedia content supported on social media.

Clara closed by offering the audience members a few actions they can take to help their private client services succeed in the digital age. First, in order to stay relevant with end clients and advisors, leaders must help shift the organizational mindset from defense to offense for use of social, mobile and digital technologies. Second, they must help advisors seamlessly incorporate social, mobile, and digital into their practices by offering the right tools, training, and program. Finally, Clara submitted that, to be a champion for social media, the leaders in the audience need to lead by example and learn about how to use social media for business and be on social media themselves.
Hearsay Social will continue to explore these topics at its upcoming Social Business Innovation Summit next week in San Francisco. Top C-level, sales, and marketing leaders from financial services firms along with leaders from Silicon Valley companies such as LinkedIn and Klout will explore the topic of how social, mobile, and digital technologies can help transform the landscape of the financial services industry, enable advisors, and put the clients first.